Discussion: The Best Ways I Define Favorite Genres

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Discussion: Best Ways I Like To Define Favorite Genres

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that we bookworms want to obtain all the books. Or I hope this is true, otherwise it’s just me, and that’d be awkward. (Please tell me I’m not alone in this!)

The problem with these bookworm obsessions is that sometimes collecting books means we pick up a book based on one of two things.

1: Cover Art | If you’re anything like my, this is a big motivator. After all, this is always our first impression, and it’s this which lingers. If nothing else does, often I’ll remember a book from its cover

2: Hype | Sometimes even the best of us get roped into the hype of a book whether it’s the readers “cup of tea” or not.

Today I thought I’d talk a little bit about my philosophy of knowing our favored genres. For the past 5+ years, I’ve made a conscious effort to only collect books that seem like they’ll be my jam. Despite this effort, in the last 6 months, I’ve again made a re-commitment to try and hone in on the books that “feel” authentic to the kind of reading I love.

*says the girl who buys used books for Bookstagram photography*

Of course, there is always a chance educated guesses will disappoint, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take. Recently I’ve noticed it’s harder and harder for me to find books on Amazon, at Barnes and Noble or when collecting a list of books for booktube videos (for example when I create content for anticipated reads). I’m hoping this is because I’ve honed in on the genres that best suit me and is not due to a lack of published tomes!

Below I share a few of the best methods, ways and tips I use to help define my favored genres.

1: KNOW your Reading Preferences | Of course this goes hand in hand with today’s topic. But it’s so helpful once you “learn” what type of book you best love. There are millions (billions?) of books in this world, and of those books, a very small percentage (in the scope of the books out there) will be your kind of read. No one needs this permission, but this is okay. There’s nothing wrong with clinging only to the reads you like.

Sometimes this means I turn down review offers, and there’s no shame in this. Just as there’s no shame in not signing up for all the book tours or opportunities that pop up in our inbox. Once upon a time this was a real struggle for me, and one I don’t feel I struggle with nearly as much today. To pace ourselves (for the sake of our blogs and our sanity) is a good thing.

Knowing what genre you like best is THE best bookworm feeling. Whatever it is, it’s OK not to like all the genres. For example, I adore contemporary fiction. Most people don’t. They want a fantasy novel or a historical read. No matter what your genre is, own it and love it.

2: KNOW the Genre & the Details | This one is definitely a personal measure by which I judge a book’s likability. Another way that helps me make judgments is the publishing house. Yes, publishing house. I find if a book is published by a publisher I’ve read a lot from, I’m more likely to click that little “add to cart” button.

Publishers I often trust are Bethany House, Blink, HarperCollins (and its divisions), Random House, Revell, and Simon Teen. Under these publisher emblems I’ve often discovered books that suit my reading preferences so well.

Of course, I also consider the genre.

3: KNOW what Makes You Happy | Just living life has challenges, which is why my philosophy is to read what makes me happy. I’m not against philosophical, biographies or books about Christian living (at all), but I also live life and I know about its challenges because I’m living it.

Right or wrong, this is why I read what makes me smile, laugh, and yes, experience that HEA. Life’s too short to force one’s shelf through a book you a: aren’t enjoying or b: cannot connect with. I’ve been there, done that.

Whatever your preference is (no matter the genre, author or non-fiction vs. fiction), that’s what you should read. If it’s a blend of things, that’s wonderful. I don’t exclusively read contemporary fiction, and within that mix, I enjoy different genres. It’s just that the genre I enjoy the most from is contemporary. Then there’s the YA market, which I also read despite being way past the target age.

Why do I read them? Again we circle back to the prime reason: because they make me happy. (Also, upcoming is a blog post or video that defines my way of using the term “guilty pleasure reads.”) Today, that’s a life commodity that in my view isn’t a bad thing.

These are the simple ways I like to define what makes a favorite genre – and how I put them into practice to help in my reading choices.

Tell me, do you notice it’s more difficult to find books of interest? Do you work to discover which books or authors most suit your reading tastes? How do you read – what methods to you employ to help you choose books? Leave all the book talk thoughts below. 

(PS: Let me know down below if you'd like to see more posts like this on Finding Wonderland, and if so, what topics you're curious about. Feedback is always helpful.)

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland


  1. Rissi, I'm so glad you tackled this topic! As time becomes more valuable I find myself less likely to branch out in genres that I don't love even when the books come with excellent reviews. Sometimes, this makes me feel a bit guilty, but why? As you said, we should read what makes us happy and I've found my happy place in historical fiction and occasionally in YA and Contemporary.

    I'm very author loyal so once I find one I love, I will read anything they write no matter what genre it is in. Apart from that, I can be tempted by a book cover or blogger review if it is outside my usual choices. I also tend to look for books written in certain time periods within historical fiction. The medieval time period is my favorite!

    That being said, I still try to keep an open mind to books that fall outside my favored parameters. For instance, I made a goal this year to read at least one non-fiction book a month, just because. I'm also often tempted by a Kindle sale. So I may buy a book I wouldn't read otherwise because it is so inexpensive. Sometimes, I get around to reading these books, but sometimes I don't.

    I'm curious how other readers feel about this topic, if they ever feel guilty for sticking with certain preferences and how they choose their reading material?

    1. That's wonderful, Brittaney. I'm so glad you've found your happy book medium too. It's a grand feeling, isn't it? :)

      You make an excellent point. I'm author loyal too. I stick with a certain era in historical too. Especially since there are some I simply don't care for.

      Same goes for me. I'm all about keeping an open mind, which I think is good. But my primary goal is to stay close to what I know I'll like because yes, life (and time!) is too short. :)

      I'm curious too!! I'd love to know all the thoughts - and appreciate you adding yours.

  2. First off, I love this discussion topic! It is certainly something I consider important, especially as I get deeper into the "book blogging" thing and its opportunities.

    You have outlined some great points in what to consider when choosing books! I definitely pay close attention to genre and publisher (and for this one, more so than I used to.). I'm guilty of shopping picking up used books based on publishing house alone in the past, but I try not to do that so much anymore because I know my preferences MORE now. Or, maybe it's because my TBR has grown so much I have way more reading options and I don't have to "search" for something to read. Oh, and I'm totally one of those Kindle sale people, too!!!!

    I like somewhat of a variety of genres --- contemporary and historical, most often involving romance or HEA. Like you said, that's what makes me happy. I do like to branch out occasionally and read something different, like straight up historical fiction or YA or maybe a fairy-tale-esque fantasy. But I typically stay within my comfort zone. I have found that I read more contemporary than historical, though I like both equally. My theory is that historicals often take more brain-processing (totally different environment/norms than our current reality) SO I like to break up the "focus" and read contemporaries to balance all of that out.

    I have also paid more attention to favorite authors' own reading habits and book recommendations --- I have found a few new favorite stories I otherwise would not have picked up because of their praise, etc. (One such example: I loved Impossible Saints by Clarissa Harwood which was HIGHLY recommended by Rachel McMillan. I would not have even heard of it had it not been for Rachel's gushing and talk of comparing it to Grantchester.)

    1. Thanks, Courtney! I really appreciate you adding your two cents. :)

      What I've recently found interesting is that I'm finding it harder and harder to find books (for my lists or anticipated reads, etc.). My hope is this is because I know what I like. If that's the case it makes me happy. Nothing wrong with being a Kindle sale girl. I'm not because I avoid Kindle reading as often as I can - gives me a headache if I have to read on there. ;)

      YES! I love your term "brain-processing" in order to describe historical books. I agree. There's something about certain genres/authors that require us to be MORE engaged (meaning to pay closer attention and sometimes, there's TOO MANY DETAILS!). I like your methods.

      Rachel is all about the amazing book gushes. :)

  3. Rachel makes th BEST book recommendations!

    1. She's forever and always got those epic book gushes for readers! :)

  4. Great post! I'm new to your blog, and so blessed to have found it. I love particular genres, but venture out every now and then to experience something new. Sadly, I'm usually disappointed. Christian, Biblical, Women's, and Historical are definitely my favs. :)

    1. Hi, Cheryl! Welcome - and thank you so much for reading. Jump in the convos anytime. We love all the bookish talk. :)

      Sounds like you've got a great line up of favorite genres. I like to stick with my main genres, and am now trying to be really cautious (am I 90% sure this is a "me" book? what has it been likened to? have blogger friends reviewed/liked it? what's its rating?) when I pick up a new kind of read. Or that's the goal! :)

  5. This is a great post! And you know, the first one is SO true- I think so many bloggers fall into that "someone wants me to review it so I must" trap. I cannot tell you how many times I agreed to review stuff that wasn't even CLOSE to my preferred type of book. Of course, this was when I was newer, so I guess it might be one of those things we need to kind of learn from our mistakes with?

    And seriously, everyone really should read whatever they WANT to read- I spend way too much time reading hyped books, even now, and then wondering why I'm the black sheep- well duh, it's cause it wasn't a book I normally would have picked up! Such great points you've made!!

    1. I agree, Shannon. I have certainly learned from my this-is-what-I-must-do blogging mistakes. That's the important part, right? That we learn. :)

      Well said. There's not enough time in our days to read something we're not loving. That's the simple fact!

      So glad you joined the convo.

  6. I loved this post so much! Because I'm exactly the same way! I know what I like to read and so I actively search out those books that I have the highest likelihood of enjoying. And it's interesting because sometimes there's a really hyped book that I know I won't like even though everyone loves it and I think that can sometimes be really hard to convey. Like, I really want to get in on the hype but I also know this book isn't my cup of tea.

    1. Thanks, Malka!! I appreciate you reading.

      I like how you phrase that: "the highest likelihood of enjoying." You and I are alike in this. There's not enough time to force ourselves through books we're not liking. Ditto. I feel you on the hype thing. I intended to read the Sarah J. Maas books for YEARS, but this year I finally unhauled her books because they just don't seem like "me" reads. :D

      Appreciate you sharing your thoughts. :)


Have a thought? Don't be shy, go ahead and leave one... or two... or three! I reply to every comment. If you're new to the blog, please don't hesitate to introduce yourself and your blog - we love chatting around here!

Feedback and every comment is appreciated and read - I always leave a response; your opinions are respected and I ask that you show mine the same courtesy.

(If you post under “anonymous,” please leave a name. If you don't have a Google account, you can type your name into the Name/URL and if you have no site, just leave "URL" blank.)

If you are still reading my ramblings, thank you for following this little blog and for being one of its supporters. I’ve enjoyed getting to know each of you, friends!

Latest Instagrams

© Finding Wonderland. Design by FCD.